Simulation Games – A method for Uncovering Resource Efficiency Potentials in Manufacturing Companies

by Kerstin Anstätt (presenting author), Julia SchindlerNadja Wisniewski (presenting author), Mario Schmidt, Frank Bertagnolli

Institute for Industrial Ecology, Germany

Energy and material costs are a major cost factor in producing industries. Increasing energy and material efficiency can lead to significant cost savings and improved competitiveness and is therefore an important factor in motivating companies to become more resource efficient.

In order to promote resource-efficient measures in companies, it is necessary to sensitize the employees to the topic and to involve them actively. One way to do so are simulation games that convey the basic approach of resource efficient production and at the same time allow the employees to apply their newly acquired knowledge in the game. The learning by doing helps the participants to find hidden resource efficiency potentials and creates incentives to develop their own optimizations. They are encouraged to scrutinize existing practices and to find individual and creative solutions for implementation. After the training the participants act as promoters of the topic and can initiate measures for improvement within the company.

Six haptic simulation games concerning material or energy efficiency methods were created by the Institute of Industrial Ecology of Pforzheim University in the framework of the project RE:PLAN. Till now, more than three hundred participants from top management to factory workers from companies of different industrial sectors were reached by this special training offer. Referring to the evaluation results, the project implemented important tools to raise the resource efficiency in participating companies and even several optimization projects were initiated. This shows that the combination of knowledge transfer and its application in the game empowers the employees to resource-efficient actions in the company.

All in all, simulation games are an innovative and diversified method to train and to encourage employees to promote resource efficient topics within a company. They create a resource efficiency awareness among the workforce and by that help uncover and exhaust existing savings potentials.